Mattis cagey on military solution to North Korea

Trump aide says Tillerson's role is diplomatic not military

US Department of Defense (MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.) - Secretary of Defense James Mattis made his first on-camera remarks Thursday about North Korea's threats to attack Guam with ICBMs, saying that a potential nuclear incident "would be catastrophic". The tragedy of war is well enough known.

A shootout with North Korea would be "catastrophic", as pointed out this week, by U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

"We want to use diplomacy".

South Korea's presidential office says top national security adviser Chung Eui-yong will chair a national security council meeting in the afternoon to discuss the North Korean threats.

Mattis' comments come on the heels of North Korea's state media announcement Thursday that its military would devise a plan by mid-August to fire four intermediate range missiles at the US territory of Guam as a "crucial warning to the U.S".

Meanwhile, various media outlets have reported that North Korea now has the ability to miniaturize a nuclear warhead for placement on an intercontinental ballistic missile and the regime has threatened to "envelope Guam with fire".

And while Mattis warned on Wednesday that North Korea would be "grossly overmatched" by the USA and its allies if a military conflict were to break out, some senior administration officials have provided a counterpoint to the President's more inflammatory rhetoric.

"[Kim Jong-un] has been very threatening beyond a normal statement, and as I said, they will be met with fire, fury, and, frankly, power, the likes of which this world has never seen before", Trump concluded.

"If you threaten a nation, then what should you expect - a stiffly worded letter that would be sent by courier?" he said, in response to a question on whether the situation could escalate into a military conflict.

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